Professor Mala Rao OBE is Director of the Ethnicity and Health Unit at Imperial College London and Vice Chair of the NGO WaterAid UK. She was formerly Medical Adviser to NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Strategy. She has recently been appointed chair of the Expert group on the Environmental Determinants of Climate change and Health, WHO South East Asia Region. Her career has spanned public health practice, policy and research and her most notable achievements have been in workforce development for public health, health systems strengthening and environmental health in the UK and the global arena.
Deeply committed to addressing health and social inequalities, Mala Rao is also a globally recognised champion of climate change action, safe water and sanitation and gender and racial equity. More than a decade ago, she instigated and co-edited the highly commended 2009 book, ‘The Health Practitioner’s Guide to Climate Change’, which was referred to as a ‘wake-up call’ for the health professions. In 2010, she lead the writing of the health chapter of Government of India’s 4 by 4 Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change and a UK Department for International Development commissioned study, of the state of preparedness of Indian states to address the health impacts of climate change. She continues to highlight the health impacts of climate change and contributes to advocacy to make public health central to climate negotiations and action.